In a March 1863 proclamation of a national day of fasting and prayer, President Abraham Lincoln said:
We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven . . . But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.
In an October 1863 proclamation of a national day of Thanksgiving, President Lincoln said:
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gracious gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.
On November 19, 1863, President Lincoln delivered a two minute address at the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in a ceremony dedicating the battlefield as a National Cemetery. Eight thousand men had died during the three day battle in July 1863.
We have so much to be thankful for, especially because “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” — John 3:16.